MADURAI: A huge haul of smuggled gold was seized in a joint operation carried out by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in association with the Indian Coast Guard.
The operation was conducted at sea after the authorities intercepted a fleeing fishing boat after a chase near the Mandapam coast. Foreign-origin gold weighing 17.74 kg valued at Rs 10.1 crore approximately, was seized. The seizure was made under the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962.
The gold was hidden in a parcel containing 14 packages of foreign-origin gold in various forms and sizes of bars, chains, and sticks found and tied in a towel. Three persons involved in the smuggling have been apprehended and are being interrogated, a release said.
The DRI developed intelligence that a gang based in Vethalai and Mandapam in coastal Ramanathapuram district were planning to smuggle huge quantities of gold from Sri Lanka on a fishing boat. The intelligence also revealed that those three persons in the fishing boat would collect the gold on the high seas and were planning to land at the Mandapam coast.
Accordingly, the joint operation was planned. A team of ICG officers and officials from DRI mounted surveillance from the Coast Guard Ship ‘Charlie 432’ and the fishing boat was identified in the early hours of Wednesday. On spotting the fishing boat, Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIB) from the ICG Ship, were deployed to intercept the fishing boat.
During interception, those in the fishing boat threw the contraband into the sea. The parcel was retrieved from the seabed with the help of Coast Guard divers engaged in underwater search operations.
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